1. Eclipsed By the Moon
But she notices him. Notices and watches, learning everything about him that she can from simple observation.
She knows that he does not drink much ale in company, that he prefers well-cooked meats to rare, the honey-bread served on special occasions to the plainer stuff that accompanies every meal. He leaves the hard crusts of this bread on the edge of his plate, and she has been tempted to take those crusts and eat them, so that her mouth will be where his was.
She does not take them, however, for if caught, she would certainly be dismissed from her post, and that she does not want.
Lathwyn watches him from afar, enthralled by the grace of his pale slender hands as he eats. She notes the meticulous way he wipes his fingers on a cloth after each bite, unlike the others at the King’s table, who are less fastidious and rub their hands clean on their tunics when they clean them at all.
She see that every move he makes is careful, deliberate -- he has a preciseness of motion that she finds somehow exciting.
On her narrow cot, in the dark of the cramped room she shares with the other maids, she has lain awake many nights, imagining what it would be like to have those calculating hands exploring her body.
Lathwyn knows that the other serving women think her odd. She knows that Gríma is not fair of face nor strong of body, as are the Lords Théodred and Éomer, but neither are they wise and shrewd, as Gríma is.
The young Lords of Rohan are the sun - if one of them glances at Lathwyn when making a request for more food or drink, she feels scorched and wilted under their bold eyes, and looks away as quickly as she can without giving offense.
If the Lords Théodred and Éomer are like unto the sun, then Gríma is the moon that eclipses them. When he turns to Lathwyn to nod his thanks as she serves him, she is both soothed and aroused by the dark cunning that lurks in his gaze. His heavy, knowing eyes light a fire deep within the pit of her stomach, and after such moments, she will often seek out a man -- lonely or drunk, tender or rough, groom or Rider, it does not matter. She does not care who they are, because they are not the one she longs for.
Lathwyn knows that the affections of the King’s advisor are given to the Lady Éowyn. But she hopes, for she also knows that the Lady Éowyn will always see Gríma as Wormtongue, a twisted snake lying in wait to deliver a fatal bite to the King, not as a loyal subject and learned advisor who has dedicated years of his life to Rohan. The Lady Éowyn will never see that Gríma has only his country's best interests at heart.
Lathwyn hopes that one day Gríma will see her, and realize that he need not waste his heart on one so disdainful, when there is one right before him who would do anything to please him. If he were any other man, she would steal into his chamber one evening while he was away and be waiting in his bed when he returned. But he is not any other man -- such a crude tactic would be unworthy of Gríma 's attention. Something subtle, something wily -- that is the way to draw his eye to her.
So she watches him, as drawn by him as the tide is by the moon. Her gaze haunts Gríma's steps as she stores his every movement and word for future reference, in hopes that one day he will lay bare the way to his heart.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.